Palestinian workers’ rights in Israel

4 November 2012 / / From factories to farms, labour union champions rights of Palestinians in Israel

Nazareth – Security cameras and a heavy metal door secure the otherwise inconspicuous apartment. This is the office of the Arab Workers Union in Israel (AWU). Photographs of local demonstrations and flags of international trade unions drape the interior walls. Wehbe Badarneh, 43, from the village of Arabah, is the general secretary of the trade union. He prepared coffee over an open gas stove and offered freshly baked pastries. Fadwa Ali, 42, of the village of Kaukab Abu Al-Hija, arrived shortly after. Fadwa is one of the main organizers of the Women’s Platform, an affiliated section of the AWU. We sat down to discuss issues effecting Israeli Palestinian women workers, and the trade union’s related activities.

The AWU in Israel is a young, independent trade union which primarily organizes and defends Palestinians citizens of Israel who work in factories in Nazareth, Haifa and the Galilee, along with women working in agriculture. The trade union is run solely by volunteers and relies on donations from trade unions internationally in order to sustain itself. It runs awareness campaigns to inform Arab workers of their labor rights, organizes them across workplaces, and provides legal representation in labor courts.

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See also the August 2012 report from Kav LaOved (Workers’ Hotline) on “Palestinian Employment in Israel and the Settlements” – available via the AUSPalestine RESOURCES page >>>